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The McMartin preschool case

Wasn't familiar with it until it was mentioned in the Capturing the Friedmans thread. What are everyone's thoughts? In reading up on it now it sounds like the kids were mostly coerced into making up stories about molestation and satanic rituals.

by Anonymousreply 4201/02/2011

You should see the docudrama they made about this. In-fucking-credible. The prosecutor, Leah Rubin or something like that, should have been dis-barred.

by Anonymousreply 112/31/2010

All this kids lied because they were trained to lie by the prosecution. KIDS FUCKING MAKE UP SHIT AND LIE ALL THE TIME. I know this 'cause I was a kid and I lied like a motherfucker all the time, making up bullshit "I was chased" stories.

by Anonymousreply 212/31/2010

Go back to your meds, R2.

OP, the McMartin case amounted to mass hysteria. The kids were very young and very impressionable, and it was easy for investigators to push them into saying what prosecutors wanted to hear. Lives were ruined over this.

by Anonymousreply 312/31/2010

It was at the height of the child molestation hysteria as a social issue and the McMartin trial was a travesty, the result of a lynch mob mentality. Now accusations of child molestation are more carefully vetted as studies have shown it is not as common or as widespread as earlier thought. A truly sick and depraved act, but relatively rare. And on a side note, there was an HBO film about the McMartin case in which DL fave, Sada Thompson, was beyond brilliant. I think she won an Emmy.

by Anonymousreply 412/31/2010

I think you're thinking of Shirley Knight, r4.

by Anonymousreply 512/31/2010

[quote]the child molestation hysteria as a social issue

I was a kid when this case was in the news every night. I remember asking my mom about it, and while she indicated much of it seemed unlikely, she said that when it comes to their children, parents tend to panic. I guess the idea of this possibly happening was enough to send them over the edge. Most parents wouldn't take any chances if they thought their kids were being molesting. Nobody would 'err on the side of caution' when being told by authorities that this may have occurred. I have compassion for the parents & children, but none whatsoever for the investigators & prosecutors.

by Anonymousreply 612/31/2010

R2 has a point. Around that time we were being told that children were incapable of lying.

by Anonymousreply 712/31/2010

There is an excellent documentary called Witch Hunt about a similar series of trials in Bakersfield, California, back in the '80s. It's available thru Netflix.

by Anonymousreply 812/31/2010

The McMartin case was a classic witch hunt. It destroyed lives and the person in charge of the investigation should burn in hell.

by Anonymousreply 912/31/2010

Kids are terrible witnesses and to be honest...adults don't remember too well either. People who identify...usually don't remember correctly unless they actually know the person involved. Most people don't have good face recognition.

by Anonymousreply 1012/31/2010

[quote]adults don't remember too well either

Especially Schizophrenic adults with drinking problems.

by Anonymousreply 1112/31/2010

I remember seeing a documentary about this and being outraged because it was so obvious that the people accused were innocent of any wrongdoing.

by Anonymousreply 1212/31/2010

Another case around that time is the Little Rascals preschool case in North Carolina which started when one mother got pissed off at the daycare owner for disciplining her brat and ended up with accusations of witchcraft and several people in jail. Frontline had a couple of compelling documentaries about it. This was a time period when Donahue, Geraldo and the like were running episodes about rampant satanism and human sacrifice in the suburbs.

by Anonymousreply 1312/31/2010

Yes the whole "kids don't lie" notion was bizarre.

But I'm not too sure about whether any of the kids were molested. For me, the jury is still out.

Maybe if I watched again.

by Anonymousreply 1412/31/2010

Oh, kids lie. I remember in 2nd grade ('76-'77), I claimed to have seen both Network and Voyage of the Damned, which, of course, I hadn't. The other kids were impressed that I'd seen "adult" movies and the teacher was disbelieving, so I had to tell them all about the film. Since I'd recently seen The Poseidon Adventure on TV, I assumed Network and Voyage of the Damned were disaster movies, so I made up these elaborate disaster scenarios for both films. The teacher, bless his heart, didn't give me away to the other kids.

by Anonymousreply 1512/31/2010

Recently (2009?) there was the case of the female elementary school teacher who hosted a sleepover at her house. One of her own daughters was in her class. A bunch of kids, including the daughter, accused the teacher of abuse. The kids were taken away and the teacher was fired. Parents were hysterical. During the trial, it was revealed that the teacher had a lez relationship 20 years ago--and that was allowed as "evidence" of her depravity.%0D %0D The teacher was a white blonde. Imagine if the teacher had been a man or, god forbid, an openly gay man. No questions, just a lynching before day break.%0D %0D Why ANYONE wants to spend alone time with strangers' children boggles my mind. I'd rather be broke and homeless than in jail thanks to lil' Britanee's accusation. Shudder.

by Anonymousreply 1612/31/2010

In 1998, I met Virginia McMartin at a nail salon near Torrance. She is not shy about her past. She was talking about the ordeal to a group of women who probably have never heard of her or the scandal. I was a young child at the time, but I was a news junkie so I was very aware McMartin trial.

by Anonymousreply 1712/31/2010

[quote] by: Ray Buckley

It was Buckey, not Buckley

by Anonymousreply 1812/31/2010

Where is the thread on Capturing the Friedmans? I did a search and couldn't find it.

by Anonymousreply 1912/31/2010

The Village Voice covered a case in Maplewood, NJ for about a decade (mid 80s to mid 90s), railing against the absurd charges against a preschool teacher there.

The teacher was convicted and served about 5 years in prison. It was at least a decade before her conviction was overturned and she was cleared.

As with the McMartin case, the childrens' stories were suggested to them while they were being questioned.

by Anonymousreply 2012/31/2010

My son has an invented narrative of his own. He didn't like moving back to NYC, so he started pulling a lot of crap. He told school counselors he was going to kill himself, because he read on a website that schools pay attention to that. He forced us out of the city by refusing to go to school and telling a pack of lies. %0D %0D Now he claims he was "getting into fights all the time at school," which is completely untrue. I know it's untrue because he had 5 friends at the school (we had lived in the city since well before we adopted him and he lived in the city with us until 2nd grade. We returned to the city in 5th grade). I questioned his friends at school, who have known him since they were all in strollers, and they said there were no fights at all and, in fact, all the kids who knew him before we moved were glad to see him back. They also said that since Day One my son was determined to get out of the city. He told this to the kids every day at lunch. "I'm not staying here. I'm getting out. You'll see."%0D %0D His refusal to go to school in the morning ended up with a threat to send CPS to our home. I said go ahead - let them waste their time coming here for as long and as many times as they want. It's wasn't my problem --- it was that my partner, behind my back, had promised my son we'd move back to where we'd been living if he didn't like the city. He promised this BEFORE we even moved back to the city, so you can imagine where all of this oppositional behavior was coming from. If you didn't want to move and one of your parents said, "Don't worry, we'll just move back here if you don't like it!" how would you behave?%0D %0D Now we are in a different area and my son needs to see a school counselor because he has an inability to deal with not getting his own way and it affects his behavior in school. Big surprise there, eh? In his narrative, his stories of being in fights every day in school, on the playground and on the bus are believed wholesale even though, as they say on DL, this. never. happened. %0D %0D But let's face it, white people think NYC is a jungle because of all the minorities in the city, so the white school counselors believe this crap totally and look at me with horror as if, "How could you DO THIS to this poor child? No wonder he has problems! He's been beaten by savages!" One teacher told me how my son recounted in his personal journal (all kids were required to have one) how he had his lunch money stolen on the way to school every day in the city.%0D %0D The lunches at his school were free. When I told the teacher this, she didn't believe me. I got proof and showed her -- though the school was in a high income area, it took in lots of kids from Chinatown, whose parents were immigrants working in slave-wage jobs. The school had so many of these kids (who were all hard-working students btw, well-behaved and very much into student council, after school activities, etc) that the entire school qualified for a free lunch program for everyone. Nobody brought lunch money to school.%0D %0D So much for "kids don't lie."

by Anonymousreply 2112/31/2010

[quote] But let's face it, white people think NYC is a jungle because of all the minorities in the city%0D %0D I meant "white people [italic] in the suburbs [/italic] think NYC is a jungle because of minorities."%0D %0D I hear all kinds of lightly veiled racist remarks all the time about NYC.

by Anonymousreply 2212/31/2010

The same hysteria caused the Salem Witch Trials. This phenomenon pops up every so often. People are easily manipulated and 95% are idiots.

by Anonymousreply 2312/31/2010

What R23 said. This happens all the time. If you can provoke a group of people to outrage or scare them sufficiently, they're pretty easy to control.

by Anonymousreply 2412/31/2010

[quote]I hear all kinds of lightly veiled racist remarks all the time about NYC.

I heard one yesterday...a friend said a particular area was "urban." I didn't know what she meant & she clarified by saying "black kids."

Is that what "urban" means -- "black" ?? I never knew that...

by Anonymousreply 2512/31/2010

Great book by Lawrence Wright on another case of mass hysteria (in this case a "satanic cult") that ruined people's lives.

by Anonymousreply 2612/31/2010

[quote]In 1998, I met Virginia McMartin at a nail salon near Torrance. She is not shy about her past. She was talking about the ordeal to a group of women who probably have never heard of her or the scandal. I was a young child at the time, but I was a news junkie so I was very aware McMartin trial.%0D %0D So what did she say?

by Anonymousreply 2712/31/2010

You're darn right this can happen. In my own situation, I nearly lost my teaching job two months ago because of this hysteria. It all started with my using a student restroom because the teacher restroom was occupied. I won't go into a lot of details but a combination of things led to the most stressful 3 1/2 weeks of my life. Thanks God for my union. They really went to bat for me. All along, I simply told the truth and insisted I did nothing wrong...But even in telling the truth, if someone has an agenda, things can snowball out of control.

It is sad. It has colored my opinion of the profession and of people in general.

by Anonymousreply 2801/01/2011

People are to stay away from them.

by Anonymousreply 2901/01/2011

[quote]The Village Voice covered a case in Maplewood, NJ for about a decade (mid 80s to mid 90s), railing against the absurd charges against a preschool teacher there.

The Margaret Kelly Michaels case. I live in New Jersey and followed this one closely. It was obvious from Day One that the whole thing was a sham (at least to me), but what kept it going was the star power of the Assistant Prosecutors--they were same team that had won convictions against the Glen Ridge jocks who had coerced their retarded classmate into performing a sex show, as described in the book "Our Guys".

If anything good came out of this, it was the State Supreme Court opinion that roasted the prosecutors and cops for their interrogation techniques, and how repetition and the kids' willingness to please led to false accusations. This was a major theme in McMartin as well as the Little Rascals cases, where kids who were "interviewed" (read "interrogated") by a particular shrink ended up accusing teachers of sexual abuse, whereas the Little Rascals pupils who went out of town to see a shrink for assessment were found to be perfectly fine.

The HBO movie about the McMartin preschool case is excellent, but what really kills me is the bit reenacting Mike Wallace's interview with several McMartin teachers on 60 Minutes. I just love how appalled he is over their fate, practically wailing "How could this happen?" Fucking hypocrite. He was one of the reporters that initially led the charge. I distinctly remember a piece on 60 Minutes several years prior to the McMartin interview filled with all the "truths" that have since been found to be false--"Kids don't lie about abuse", "Kids can't be forced to admit something that didn't happen", etc.

While law enforcement isn't totally there yet, there at least have been some improvements.

by Anonymousreply 3001/01/2011

Do they have these problems in other countries or are Americans just obsessed with accusing people of having sex with children?

by Anonymousreply 3101/01/2011

According to Wikipedia, yes:

[quote]Day care sex abuse hysteria was a panic that occurred primarily in the 1980s and early 1990s featuring claims against daycare providers of satanic ritual abuse and several forms of child abuse.[1][2] A prominent case in Kern County, California, first brought the issue of day care sexual abuse to the forefront of the public awareness, and the issue figured prominently in news coverage for almost a decade. The Kern County case was followed by cases elsewhere in the United States as well as Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, and various European countries.

by Anonymousreply 3201/01/2011

Just a point in time where the Republicans were looking for enemies to replace the communists. They ejaculated over 911.

by Anonymousreply 3301/01/2011

"This happens all the time. If you can provoke a group of people to outrage or scare them sufficiently, they're pretty easy to control."%0D %0D And that is why Fox News exists. Fortunately they have "the terrorists" to demonize, but I'm sure they're not above accusing their masters' enemies of child abuse.

by Anonymousreply 3401/01/2011

If you've ever had a kid, you know they lie constantly. Hell, if you've ever been a kid, you know they lie constantly.

It's as if some shrink said it once on the news and it spread as actual fact after that...even though I was only a teen when the McMartin case went down and the heyday of "kids don't lie", I realized how full of shit they were. I remember being incensed at just the flatout dishonesty of saying such a thing. I didn't know whether these people were guilty or not, but I knew enough to know that the "kids don't lie" movement was horseshit.

by Anonymousreply 3501/01/2011

My boss (at that time) was a court reporter during the depositions of a lot of the children and witnesses for the McMartin case. He told me (well after the trial was over) that he thought most of the children had been coached, at least somewhat. But that there were two kids that had a bit of a different story. One of them told of a "secret" room that even the investigators were skeptical of. They adjourned the deposition to take a trip to the school...sure enough, there was a tucked-away room, kimda hidden in some way, that had a lot of the furniture and different items in it that some of the children had described. To get to the room entailed a few twists and go-through-this-door to get to another door turns. %0D %0D After that deposition, it was clear to the people who were there which kids were stretching things, and which might actually be telling the truth. %0D %0D My boss said he thought the scope of the abuse was way too spread, but after this child and another came forth, he thought there was some strong possibility that abuse had happened to at least two of the kids.

by Anonymousreply 3601/01/2011

There's a reason why there's an "age of reason." Kids really don't understand the difference between making stuff up and saying what actually happened. And kids also tend to want to please people they see as having power over them, so give 'em a stuffed bunny & a "good boy!" or "good girl!" and they can confirm pretty much anything.

I have no doubt that many, many children are abused, but it's usually by a family member or someone close to the family. Accusations of mass Satanic rituals seem to come out of the same weird atavistic mindset that created the Salem witch hunts, which shows that humans have never changed and probably never will.

by Anonymousreply 3701/01/2011

[quote]The same hysteria caused the Salem Witch Trials.%0D %0D And the McCarthy era red scare.

by Anonymousreply 3801/02/2011

It was total bullshit!

by Anonymousreply 3901/02/2011

The hysteria over sex in the 80s was unbelievable. Besides AIDS, there were a bunch of these molestation cases, and half of the guests on Oprah, Donahue, Sally, etc., were there to talk about molestation and other 'family secrets.'%0D %0D The 80s were a fucked up time.

by Anonymousreply 4001/02/2011

The really interesting part about the McMartin case was the way in which the media covered it. They proffered some salacious details, but left out any information that might have made the public doubt the caregivers' guilt. I remember following the trial pretty closely, but lots of things were omitted by the press. For example, the children claimed that the caregivers actually flew on broomsticks, even flying out of the daycare windows on them. This information wasn't made public during the coverage of the case, and didn't surface until much later. There were lots of claims like this as the parents became more and more hysterical, yet the public didn't hear of it.

by Anonymousreply 4101/02/2011

[quote]the caregivers actually flew on broomsticks, even flying out of the daycare windows on them.%0D %0D Awareness of these flying broomsticks was suppressed by big oil, just like the 200 mpg carburetor and cars that run on water.

by Anonymousreply 4201/02/2011
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